Marvel's X-Men Separate But Equal
By Andy Frisk
May 11, 2015 - 18:54
As reported at Bleeding Cool, (spoilers ahead) at the end of Secret Wars, Marvel's mutant population will discover that the Terragenesis mist (released all over the world recently by Inhuman king Black Bolt) is deadly to them, so they will leave the planet to form their own home world somewhere in space. This establishes a de facto situation of separate but equal as far as Marvel's Mutant population is concerned. This is not because it makes for interesting storytelling. No. This is because it forcibly segregates the X-Men from the other Marvel characters who currently Disney's Marvel Studios has the film rights to. Disney's Marvel Studios DOES NOT have the film rights to The X-Men. Those are held by 20th Century Fox. Disney's Marvel Studios wants to get rid of the X-Men from The Avenger's stomping ground (i.e. Earth) so they can develop Inhumans as the new "mutants" of the Marvel U, and thus the Marvel Cinematic U as well. All of this reveals just how flimsy the progressive nature of Marvel Comics is in the face of the bottom line. Way back when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created and started writing and drawing the stories of The X-Men they intended them to be a metaphor for oppressed minorities and often pursued progressive story lines in the pages of The X-Men. Lee and Kirby addressed the 1960's struggles of African Americans for Civil Rights metaphorically in the pages of The X-Men. Later on in the 1980s the X-Men battled a thinly veiled stand in for the apartheid state of South Africa in Genosha, and most recently the characters have been stand in metaphors for groups currently struggling for rights such as the right to marry. Three years ago Marvel's Astonishing X-Men #51 even featured a same sex marriage.
These stories cannot be told if Marvel's mutant population is living segregated from the world of their origin and it's constant basic human struggle to rise above its own base and racist tendencies. Sure, Marvel Comics could make Inhumans "feared and hated" and a metaphor for "the other," they just have to forcibly segregate their first metaphor and pretend they don't exist anymore. In reality, it appears the Disney's Marvel Entertainment and Studios are only willing to even entertain progressive storytelling as long as it is profitable. The Uncanny X-Men as a property are no longer profitable to the House of The Mouse so The House of Ideas is going to shunt them aside and marginalize them.
For years I've used the hashtag #MakeMineMarvel. Now, I'm no longer even going to be buying their comic books anymore. DC has lost me with the total mess they've made of Superman by trying to make him appealing yet totally missing the point of the character, and now Marvel is forcibly engaging in segregation. I know that shareholders must be paid, and those employed by Marvel must earn a living, but rendering a whole class of people (albeit fictional people) to separate but equal status over profit margins just doesn't sit well with me. I'm sure it won't with many others as well.
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